In south western Australia, the traditional landowners, the Nyoongar people, have a calendar of six seasons that represented and explained the annual seasonal changes:
Birak - First summer
|Bunuru - Second summer||Djeran - Autumn||Makuru - Winter||Djilba - First spring||Kambarang - Second spring|
|December - January||February - March||April - May||June - July||August - September||October - November|
|Season of the young||Season of adolescence||Season of adulthood||Season of fertility||Season of conception||Season of birth|
The six Nyoongar seasons are indicated by what is happening and changing in nature – the flowering of different plants, the migration or moulting of certain animals, and the weather patterns - rather than by dates on a calendar.
The six season calendar is extremely important to Nyoongar people, as it guides them on nature’s cycles throughout the year, and has led to a deep respect for the land and plant and animal fertility cycles.
City of Stirling’s Aboriginal designs
In support of the City’s Reconciliation Action Plan to increase awareness of Aboriginal culture, a series of traditional Aboriginal designs depicting the six seasons were commissioned through local Hamersley-based and Aboriginal-owned graphic design agency, Norlap Creative.
Norlap Creative worked in partnership with respected Wadjuk artist, Teresa Miller, to create six original hand paintings inspired by traditional stories, flora and fauna from Mooro Country. These paintings were then turned into vector images for the City of Stirling to use in graphic design.
Teresa has a close personal connection – having given birth to four of her seven children at Osborne Park Hospital – and ancestral connection to Mooro Country, which dates back to Yagan’s mother and beyond.
Inspiration behind the six designs
According to artist, Teresa Miller:
“Each design features a specific colour symbolising a Noongar season, while showcasing Mooro Country fauna and flora (some animals from traditional times).
Flowing through each design we see the bidi (path) left by the Wagyl (Waugul or Waarkal).
In the Nyitting (Noongar Dreaming Time or Creation Time), the Wagyl travelled through Mooro Country from the hills to the sea, creating all the waterholes, lakes and swamps that once connected across that land, keeping the animals and plants so strong and fertile.
The footsteps of people now follow that same dreaming bidi (path) as we all benefit from the creation spirit’s first journey. It reminds us of our responsibility to keep the country as healthy as we found it.
The creation journey is central to each of the designs and so connects each design together.
These designs connect both spiritually and literally because the six designs align when placed side by side in seasonal order."